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Tips for writing a will

Nevada residents should be cautious in making a will. While this may seem like a step that ensures that one's wishes are carried out after one's death, individuals should bear in mind that a will can be challenged in court. However, there are some ways to lessen the chances of this happening.

It is important that people writing or making changes to a will have the mental capacity to do so. Witness testimony as well as medical records can challenge a person's mental capacity although mental illness is not necessarily an impediment to establishing sound mental capacity. The main criteria are that a person understands what their assets are as well as who their close family is and to whom they are leaving their assets.

Being clear about who that family is also extends to disinheriting people. Because the law tends to favor family receiving equal shares, individuals should leave no room for doubt in the will itself. All family members should be named, and it may be advisable to specifically state that no provisions are being made for anyone who is being cut out of an inheritance. The individuals may still be able to challenge the will in court, but a statement like this makes the maker's intentions clear.

It is also important to eliminate doubt by making sure witnesses are not biased and are not benefiting from any future inheritance. Witnesses also need to be able to appear in court if necessary to testify that no coercion was involved in making the will and that the individual was of sound mind. An attorney may also be helpful in writing a will that is more likely to stand up in court against any challenges.

Source: The Motley Fool, "3 Reasons Your Will Won't Hold Up in Court", Dan Caplinger, June 28, 2014

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